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Route 66 feature image

This is a big year for Route 66, and people around the world are celebrating the historic highway’s 90th anniversary. First designated as a road in 1926, Route 66 – often referred to as The Mother Road of America – is known for its nostalgia, charm and classic American appeal. While driving the route in Illinois, plan to see kitschy murals and monuments, quaint and historic towns, and people who can tell you all there is to know about Route 66.

Route 66 is a global attraction, and to celebrate this historic year, the Illinois Office of Tourism is spreading our love for the Mother Road with events in Germany, the UK and right here in the states.

London, England

To kick off this year’s 90th anniversary celebration, Illinois brought a taste of the Mother Road to London with a street party and pop-up mural. Well-known street artist Will Vibes created a 52-foot mural depicting iconic attractions along Route 66, which starts in Chicago.

The mural was accompanied by a pop-up party in Central London and included a food truck with Chicago-style hotdogs, a blues band and a classic car.

Ofterdingen, Germany

A bit further away in Germany, Route 66 fanfare was in full effect at the first ever Route 66 Festival in Ofterdingen, just outside Stuttgart. Enthusiasts of the Mother Road from all over the globe came to the festival to share their excitement and celebrate this year’s anniversary. Festival goers even got to experience the Illinois stretch of the road through an interactive photo booth with fun props and by speaking with tourism experts about Route 66 in Illinois.

Chicago, Illinois

And right here in the U.S., Bow Truss Coffee Roasters recently opened a new shop right at the start of Route 66 in downtown Chicago! A pop-up party brought the Illinois Route 66 experience to Chicagoans. Here, they sampled the new Bow Truss Route 66 Blend, interacted with authentic memorabilia from the Berwyn Route 66 Museum and watched a live mural depicting classic Route 66 stops in Illinois – like the Gemini Giant and Cozy Dog Drive In – come to life before their eyes.

The event featured a 1944 red Ford Coupe, pictured here, and authentic memorabilia from the Berwyn Route 66 Museum. Visitors could even enter to win an official Route 66 road sign.

There are even more celebrations in the works as we move closer to the Mother Road’s official anniversary date this November, like these upcoming events in Illinois:

Stay tuned to Enjoy Illinois’ social channels for updates so you can join in on the fun! And if you’re looking to start planning your Route 66 trip, be sure to visit EnjoyIllinois.com for inspiration.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Illinis Eats Feature Image

Illinois is a destination for foodies from all over the world. From gourmet meals to guilty pleasures, you can find it all. This week, we asked our Instagram followers to share photos of what they were eating around the state. Check out a few of our favorite shots below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

8.15 DryHop (at)hyaphoto

We kicked off the week with this mouthwatering photo from DryHop Chicago, shared with us by @hyaphoto.

Illinois State Fair (at)seantmcgill

No visit to the Illinois State Fair is complete without an order of mini donuts from The Donut Family! Thanks to @seantmcgill for sharing.

Reuben Sandwich (at)prairiestreetbrewing

This Reuben sandwich, made with local ingredients, from Prairie Street Brewing Co. has got us planning our next trip to Rockford. (Photo by @prairiestreetbrewingco)

Velvet Taco (at)tornado_ally

It doesn’t need to be a Tuesday to enjoy some tasty selections from Velvet Taco in Chicago. Great capture, @tornado_ally! See more of her travels at http://tornado-ally.com/.

Wrigley Hot Dog (at)rockford_cravings

Get the full ballpark experience with a Wrigley dog while cheering on the Cubs! Thanks for sharing @rockford_cravings.

Skalies at Graham's Fine Chocolates Geneva (at)chocolateuplift

Chocolate can be a food group too. How delicious do these “Skalies” from Graham’s Fine Chocolates in Geneva look? (Photo by @chocolateuplift)

Ron's Cajun Connection (at)sauk_it_to_me

Cajun food right here in Illinois? You bet! Thanks to @sauk_it_to_me for sharing this tasty dish from Ron’s Cajun Connection in Utica.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

 

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When it comes to architecture, there’s no shortage on style! Whether they’re tall or short, modern or gothic, buildings hold the interior of our lives from where we work, live and play.

Join us as we show you all of the ways that you can experience Illinois’ incredible architecture for yourself! From iconic, well-known structures to hidden gems, architecture truly makes Illinois stand out.

Chicago

What better place to begin exploring Illinois architecture than with the city known for its beautiful and unique buildings – Chicago!  The Windy City’s claim to architectural greatness is nothing new. In fact, the very first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, wowed people with its 10 story design when it opened its doors to Chicagoans in 1884. Although the Home Insurance Building was demolished in 1941, Chicago has no shortage of architectural treasures standing today, being widely considered one of the modern architectural capitals of the world.

8.15 Wrigley Building (at)shyscout

(Photo credit: Instagram user shyscout)

An original to the Chicago skyline, the Wrigley Building remains a standout against the modern skyscrapers that line the Chicago River. When it was first built by Charles Beersman in 1920, it was the tallest building in Chicago and was inspired by the Seville Cathedral’s Giralda Tower in Spain.

8.15 Rookery Building - Photo credit Nick Ulivieri

(Photo credit: Nick Ulivieri)

Designed by John Wellborn Root in 1885, the Rookery depicts structural advances for urban buildings during that time. The Rookery holds an elaborate main lobby and a light court renovated by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905.

8.15 Robie House

Next stop: Hyde Park! Built in 1910, Robie House is Frank Lloyd’s Wright’s architectural masterpiece. Its Prairie-style features each element, site, structure, foundation and decoration intertwined with one another.

8.16 Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (at)silverspoons.paris

(Photo by Instagram user silverspoon.paris)

Speaking of Frank Lloyd Wright, his Home and Studio in Oak Park was built in 1899 and was Wright’s private residence and studio during his early career. It was his first design where he practiced complete artistic control and experimented with new ideas. Wright went on to build and renovate 25 homes and buildings in Oak Park, more than anywhere else in the world.

8.4 Chicago First Lady Georama

Chicago makes it easy for you take in all of its architectural treasures. Roll from one site to the next during a Chicago Segway Tour, running daily from the southeast corner of Millennium Park. If biking is more your style, try out Pedal Oak Park for a chance to tour the historic village and get an up-close look at some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s incredible creations. A favorite of Chicago residents and visitors alike, grab a seat on one of the many architectural boat tours, running along the Chicago River and beyond from April-November.

Quincy Area

With over 3,600 buildings on the National Historic Register, you can’t get the full Illinois architectural experience without a stop in Quincy.  One of the most populous and influential cities in the state in the mid-1800s to early 1900s, it is home to an impressive array of architecture and styles, with many examples of stylish homes, some dating as early as 1830.

Quincy Museum

One of the more well-known mansions in Quincy is the Newcomb-Stillwell Mansion.  Located right on Maine Street, it was completed in 1891, and is now the home of the Quincy Museum. You can stop in to learn about the robust history of this city, covering everything from dinosaurs and local wildlife to Native American culture.

Villa Kathrine

Just a short trip down the road, you’ll find another one of Quincy’s renowned treasures- Villa Kathrine! This gorgeous estate is a unique example of Mediterranean architecture in the Midwest. Designed by architect, George Behrensmeyer in 1900, you will feel transported overseas when you step foot into this home, modeled after the Villa Ben Ahben in Morocco.

Quincy Bayview Bridge (at)jennynv97

(Photo credit: Instagram user jennynv97)

Don’t be fooled into thinking that historical homes are all Quincy has to offer. The city is home to dozens of modern structures, such as the Bayview Bridge. Built in 1987, this gorgeous passage stretches across the Mississippi River, connecting the cities of West Quincy, MO and Quincy, IL. While there is never a bad time of day to visit this incredible structure, a trip after dark will allow you to see the bridge’s cables and beams beautifully lit up against the night sky.

Quincy Homes Tour Preserve Quincy

(Photo courtesy of Preserve Quincy)

There is no shortage of ways for you to experience Quincy’s architecture for yourself. The Self-Guided Architectural Driving Tour has become a visitor favorite. This comprehensive list takes you through 15 key areas of the city, exposing a slew of diverse styles from Prairie to Modern. You can also hit the streets and pedal your way through historic treasures by renting a bike through Tour Quincy Bikes.  An Architectural Guide is provided with your cycle to make sure you don’t miss a stop. If you’re interested in interior design, there are a number of interior tours of some of Quincy’s most stunning gems, many given by the homeowners themselves.

Springfield

As the state’s capital and home of former president Abraham Lincoln, Springfield is rich with history. Let’s dive into two of the must-see buildings.

Dana Thomas House 1 (1)

The Dana-Thomas House is another example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius. Designed in 1902, the house features 35 rooms within 12,000 square feet split between nineteen total varied levels. It also displays detailed craftsmanship of glass doors, windows, terra cotta sculptures and a mural.

Old State Capitol

The Old State Capitol Building is one of the pillars of Springfield. Open to the public for tours, this State Historic Site served as the seat of state government and a center of Illinois political life from 1839-1876.

Springfield Tours

(Photo courtesy of Westcott Center for Architecture and Design)

A great way to explore the scenic beauty and fascinating history of Springfield is to join the Westcott Center for Architecture and Design on one of their city tours. The Summer Tour Series celebrates Springfield’s distinctive architecture and history with eighteen amazing tours of several areas including the South Fountain Historic District and “Millionaire’s Row”. Starting in late May and running throughout the summer, local architects, historians, curators, and docents guide you through landmarks around city. The series includes walking tours, youth tours, happy hour tours and bicycle tours to make sure that everyone can get in on the fun.

Galena

We’ll end our architectural journey in Galena, a quaint, historic town in the northwest corner of Illinois.

Dowling House

There’s no better place to begin your tour of Galena than with its oldest home, The Dowling House!  Built in 1826 by John Dowling himself, it was once the only trading post in the city, hosting many fur traders in years past. Tour guides are on site to take you through a complete history of the development of the city of Galena and Dowling House’s important role in it.  You’ll also get the chance to browse through quaint artifacts straight from the early nineteenth century.

Ulysses S Grant Home

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the only President to reside in the great state of Illinois. Upon his return from the Civil War in 1865, the city of Galena presented General and future U.S. President, Grant, with this stately home. This Italianate home was turned over to the public in 1904 and preserved with many original furnishings as a memorial to Grant, just waiting for you to explore.

Galena Trolley Tours

You can tour these architectural landmarks and more of Galena’s history and charm in a trolley car with Galena’s Trolley Tours! The trolley offers a number of architecture tours that explore Galena’s Historic district and famous Galena Homes, even offering a night time haunted ghost tour for those who dare.

Looking for more ways to explore the state this summer? Check out enjoyillinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

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Illinois might not be the official ‘City of Lights,’ but with the amount of classic neon signs lighting up the night sky, it might as well be! This week, we asked our Instagram followers to share photos of their favorite neon signs across Illinois. You can check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Remember to share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

+Rialto Square Theatre - (at) thisguycjones

We kicked off the week with this photo of the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. Thanks @thisguycjones for sharing with us!

+-The Chicago Theatre - (at) thewanderbroad

Located in the Loop on North State Street, the Chicago Theatre is a city icon! Thanks @thewanderbroad for the great photo!

+Saved By the Max Pop Up Shop - (at)  strigenzc

Hey, Preppy! The Saved by the Max Pop Up Shop in Chicago is what we Bayside High fans have been waiting for. Thanks @strigenzc for this awesome photo.

+Chicago Theatre - (at) nilaysingh_

The Chicago Theatre was nicknamed “the Wonder Theatre of the World” when it first opened in 1921 and we couldn’t agree more! Thanks @nilaysingh_ for the great photo.

+Superdawg, Chicago - (at) cyndydehmer

This classic styled drive–in diner has been serving up Chicago-style hot dogs, milkshakes and fries since 1948! Thanks for sharing with us @cyndydehmer.

+The Berghoff - (at) fancyshot

Did you know that the Berghoff is one of the nation’s oldest family-run businesses? They are still serving up great food and experiences in Chicago. Thanks @fancyshot for sharing with us!

+Chicago O'Hare - (at) morrishersko

Getting lost in the second busiest airport in the world isn’t so bad when you get to spend more time looking at this cool neon ceiling. Thanks @morrisherko for the great photo at O’Hare!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

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Illinois prides itself as home to many talented artists and popular works of art. You never know what hidden gems you might find right around the corner. This week, we asked our Instagram followers to share photos of their favorite pieces of art from across Illinois. Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

Rockford symbol - (at)

We kicked off the week with this photo of the Rockford Symbol, by artist Alexander Liberman, located in the heart of the city.

+8.5 Morgan St Mural- (at)demaris__

We love this photo of the colorful Morgan Street Mural by artist Lauren Asta. Thanks @demaris_ for the shot!

+Sterling, Il - (at) sauk_it_to_me

What a cool history themed mural in Sterling! Thanks for sharing with us @sauk_it_to_me!

+Mag Mile - (at)bojandordevic

Even in the city known for its architecture, we’re still mesmerized at the beautiful decorations along the Magnificent Mile! Thanks @bojandordevic for the photo!

-Urbana - (at) airurbana

How cool is this street mural in Urbana? Thanks @airurbana for sharing with us!

+honeycomb Chicago- (at) amit_photography

Can you believe every piece of the honeycomb structure in Chicago was installed by hand? Thanks for sharing with us @amit_photography.

+St. Charles - (at) keeping_moments_

What a cool shot of this St. Charles outdoor sculpture framing the American Flag! Thanks for the awesome photo @keeping_moments_.

+ Michigan Ave - (at) becauseican01

Great photo of the colorful wall mural along the Wabash Arts Corridor in Chicago. Thanks for the great shot @becauseican01!

+Chicago Ohio Street - (at) sambernero

Art can transform an urban downtown to a tropical escape! Thanks @sambernero for this colorful photo of Ohio Street in Chicago.

+North Shore Channel Trail - (at) laurenintrepid

Surprises like this sculpture are in store along the North Shore Channel Trail! Thanks @laurenintrepid for sharing with us.

+Lincoln Park Chicago - (at) chilandersson

The tin man might be searching for his heart, but we’re always on the hunt for cool artwork! Thanks @chilandersson for sharing with us.

+Downtown Chicago - (at) zezedarko

The Wabash Arts Corridor in Chicago is widely regarded as the urban living canvas. As seen in this photo taken by @zezedarko, you can find a mural on every corner!

-Illinois Office of Tourism